Rural round-up

Lamb price tipped to rise – Tim Cronshaw:

The return of $100 lambs for the 2013-14 season will go some way to lifting the spirits of sheep farmers.

Farmer confidence was hard to find during the worst drought in 70 years in parts of the North Island, spreading to a dry summer in Canterbury, and with an average lamb price of $85.

Meat companies believe $100 could be the average price for lamb for the new season starting in October, with industry good organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand setting only a slightly more modest $98.50. . .

Lamb slide “will be bigger than expected” – Richard Rennie:

IDA Valley farmer Rob Gardyne believes Beef + Lamb New Zealand analysts risk significantly underestimating how far lamb numbers will fall this year.

His flock of Perendale stud ewes in Central Otago is expected to deliver a 200% lambing rate, alongside 135% from a mixed commercial flock.

However, he estimated the hit to the sheep sector overall this year would be greater than anticipated.

This was due in part to heavier-than-estimated losses of ewes to slaughter in the drought, as well as continuing conversions to dairying. . .

Optimism on meat progress – Tim Cronshaw:

Sheep farming leaders sense that a group of meat companies are coming closer to announcing a decision on whether they can find a way to work together in reforming the red meat industry.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said he felt talks were “imminent”.

He said he would be surprised if farmers did not see some announcement in the next two to three weeks.

“We are going to have more in-depth industry discussions the next few weeks when the meat company proposal comes out. . . .

Pasture growth exceeds expectations - Tony Bennie:

As a few early calves arrived on Canterbury dairy farms this week, there were positive signs for the new season with good pasture covers throughout the region, says DairyNZ regional leader Virginia Serra.

“When we are talking to farmers, they are feeling quite positive and the main thing you consider now is the pasture cover on the milking platform. Is it where it should be for calving? And yes, in most cases it is,” Serra said.

Pasture growth had exceeded expectations in both June and July.

“The Methven area has been quite affected with the snow and they are perhaps just a little bit below target, but they are still quite happy with the amount of feed on the platform.” . . .

Westland enters infant formula market in China:

Westland Milk Products is the latest to enter the rapidly expanding infant formula maket in China, with the launch of three new products in Shanghai.

The West Coast co-operative is producing infant, follow-on and growing up powders, at a new plant in Hokitika as part of a move to reduce its reliance on bulk dairy commodties.

Westland has also appointed it’s first Chinese based representative, Harry Wang as nutritional development manager for China and is working with Chinese companies to distribute the formula products. . .

Time for an update – Cabbage Tree Farm:

It’s Winter here at CTF, and we’ve had a few frosts, but some lovely fine days too. Fortunately not too cold being at the Northern end of NZ. We don’t get snow here, it’s usually just wet, with a cold southerly wind or else fine and sunny during the day but frosty at night.

I’ve been out pruning our many fruit trees, some of the bigger ones have needed quite a bit of work and that’s very time consuming. I’ve been fairly brutal to them poor things but they did really need to be ‘minimised’ – we don’t want huge fruit trees with inaccessible fruit for one thing! While we may not get such a great crop this next season, I’m hoping the following one will be good. . . .

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